Episode 035: A Look At the Parallels of Entrepreneurship and Health
This is the first episode of a mini-series where I take you behind-the-scenes, sharing some lessons learned, introspective thoughts, as well as updates on my health and what’s going on in my life.
In this episode, I reflect on what I’ve learned from being a health coach and reflect on the parallels between entrepreneurship and health.
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Hello and welcome back to the Live FAB Life podcast.
My long-time listeners know that I like to do mini-series of two, or three or sometimes even four episodes that are themed together. So this episode is the first in a series of behind-the-scenes episodes, where I’m sharing some lessons learned, and just some really introspective thoughts that have been floating through my mind for the past couple of months, as well as health and life updates!
The topic of today’s episode is things I’ve learned from being a health coach for the past two years. Last month, and if you’re listening to this at a later date I’m referencing March 2018, marked two years since I completed my health coaching certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
And for the past month I’ve been reflecting and ruminating about all the things I’ve learned and all the ways I’ve grown since then. I’ve wanted to share these thoughts but wasn’t sure quite how.
I like to use this podcast for sharing ideas and teaching opportunities so initially, it didn’t feel like this was the appropriate place to share these kinds of ruminations. So I put it out to my social media communities and several people said to write a blog post.
Well here’s the thing, I’m about 95% over writing blog posts. You see, I started a personal blog back in 2007 and faithfully wrote posts there for about eight years, until about the time that I started nutrition school. And I’m just kinda burnt out on writing blog posts.
These days I’m also finding that I skim blog posts rather than reading them intently like I used to. I find it much more impactful to connect to someone when there’s a live way of interacting with them - whether that be visually through videos or live streams, or through voice, like a podcast.
I also find that for me, it’s much easier for me to articulate my thoughts by speaking to them, rather than writing and struggling to find the appropriate words to truly convey them. For me, I don’t think that my messages come through as powerfully in words as they do through some kind of sensory communication.
I came to these realizations by practicing the first thing on my list of ten things that I’m sharing with you today:
#1 - Pay Attention
Number one on my list is to pay attention.
When you’re just starting out as a coach or any type of business owner and entrepreneur, there are so many possibilities of what you can create for yourself. And it feels exciting but it’s also super overwhelming.
I viewed my first year as a health coach as an experiment. I spent that first year trying so many different things out. Some things came naturally to me, a lot things put me out of my comfort zone, and there were a few things just didn’t make feel good.
But throughout the whole year, I paid attention.
I paid attention to the things that compelled me to engage with someone, to want to connect with someone and what wanted me to learn more. And for me, that connection came from watching someone on a Youtube video, or on a webinar, or on a social media live stream. It also came from hearing someone’s voice in my ear through a podcast while I was out walking my puppy girl, Coco Pop, or while I was driving somewhere in my car, or working out at the gym.
And it got me thinking about how do I want to connect with people.
Earlier I mentioned that I had a personal blog and for my first year as a health coach, I wrote blog posts. But I struggled with it because 1) I want burnt out on writing blog posts and 2) I didn’t feel like I was conveying my message in a compelling way that connected with the reader.
Podcasting was something that instantly appealed to me but I wasn’t ready to jump in at first. Because I tend to be very methodical, I paid a lot of attention to how established podcasters produced their shows. I did a lot of what I call “decon recon” - deconstructing how others do something, then taking bits and pieces of what I consider to be their “best practices” and incorporating them into my work.
Likewise when it comes to your health and well-being. It can be tempting to follow the latest health trends - whether that be whatever the fitness trend is right now, to the latest fad diet or superfood.
But just because it’s the latest trend, does it mean it’s right for you?
Maybe, maybe not.
In my observations, I see a lot of people trying to fit themselves into a mold - like square peg, round hole. Or people asking where they can find the latest non-biased nutrition data.
But here’s the thing - the most important data that you can find is the data that your own body is communicating to you.
Pay attention to the cues that it sends you. Your body sends you messages all the time, about what it needs and what it doesn’t. What’s working and what’s not
Are you paying attention enough to hear those messages?
#2 - You don’t need to have it all figured out
Rarely does one say, “When I grow up, I want to become a health coach.”
I’ll go out on a limb and say that 99.9% of us who have pursued this line of work has done so because we’ve struggled with one or many complications in our own health.
And for many of us, we’re still dealing with those complex issues. I know that this is true for me, and I’ve been in enough Facebook groups for health coaches to know that I’m not the only one in this situation. I wasn’t the only one who felt “not ready” or not good enough to work with clients because I haven’t completely resolved my own health issues.
But here’s what I’ve come to learn: if you committed yourself to learning, to being a student of your craft, and also depending on who you want to work with, and the kind of work that you do, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t work them toward their goals.
We’re all work in progresses but that doesn’t mean our work has to stop because we don’t have everything about our own health resolved yet.
Just like in your own health, you don’t have to have it all figured out either. There’s no pinnacle that you reach that says, “Yesss, I’ve arrived - I’m in perfect health.” Health is a journey, not a destination.
#3 - There’s different kinds of business models
A minute ago, I just said “depending on the who you want to work with, and the kind of work you want to do…”
The third thing on my list of lessons learned is that there are different kinds of business models that you can have as a health coach.
Some coaches prefer to build a business around being an influencer with revenue coming from working with brands.
Other coaches prefer to build their business using the traditional coaching model of one-to-one, private coaching.
Some coaches prefer a “one-to-many business model” where they create a group or online coaching program that allows them to maximize their reach by working with many people at once.
And then there are other coaches who prefer to be makers - maybe developing their own recipes which may eventually lead to publishing a cookbook.
The possibilities are endless. That’s the beauty about being an entrepreneur - you can use any one of these business models, or a hybrid of them, or create something entirely new and innovative all together.
At first, I didn’t understand this. I didn’t get that these strategies are all very different business models that require different business strategies.
I assumed that as a health coach, I had to do all of these things. But as I’ve experimented and paid attention to what works for me, I’ve come to learn what kind of coach I want to be and the kind of business I want to build for myself. I know I’m good, what I’m not good what, what I enjoy doing and what I want to develop skills around and become better at.
Like with business models, there isn’t ONE diet that’s perfect for everyone, nor is there anything that says you have to do things a certain way.
Sure, there are certain core beliefs that I believe do apply to everyone - like ditching processed fake food and eating real food.
But beyond that, it’s really up to you to PAY ATTENTION (back to #1) and figure out what works for you. Not for me, for you.
It could one specific diet that works beautifully for you, or it could be a hybrid of different approaches, which I think is what most people end up doing. Pay attention and figure out what foods work for you, and the best way to make it doable for you.
Confession: I don’t do meal planning. When I had to commute to an office every day, it was a necessity for me, but now that I work from home, I don’t find it necessary, which is great because its not something that I particularly enjoy doing. It works for some, not for all and don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work for you.
#4 - Be willing to go to uncomfortable places
There is sooooo many things that feel soooo uncomfortable about starting a new business.
If you aren’t tech savvy setting a website or using some of the apps required might feel intimidating.
If you’re an introvert, networking and having to socialize with people in person or even online can feel draining.
If you’re shy, having to put yourself out there and can feel overwhelming.
These things are all necessary for starting a business in these modern days and if you want to be successful, you have to be willing to do it. That’s just the reality of it. How are you going to find clients and customers if you aren’t willing to do this? How can they find you?
When I first started out, one of the hardest things I struggled with was social media. I realized that using social media as a regular consumer versus using social media as a business owner was vastly different.
And it felt soooooo uncomfortable for me to change my narrative. But I knew I had to so I’ve paid attention to what works for others and then “decon’d recon’d” so that I could figure out a way that would work for me. Like everything, it’s still a work in progress, as I’m sure it will always be, but its felt more comfortable the more I’ve stuck with it.
The same thing goes whenever you’re making any type of change, especially when it comes to your health. Whether it be a new habit you’re trying to kick or develop, new-to-you foods when trying to eat healthier, or junk foods you’re trying to stop eating, a new kind of workout, meditating…
All of these things are going to feel uncomfortable. And scary. And overwhelming. And intimidating. But to get to where you want to go, you have to be willing to go to that uncomfortable place and work through it. If its that important to you, you have to be willing to do it. Or at least try.
#5 - Don’t tie yourself to expectations
Related to #4 of going to uncomfortable places, don’t tie yourself to expectations. Of course its important to have goals, but so much of starting a business is a long game and there’s likely to be a lot of seemingly failures before successes.
I’ve had a lot of things that I expected to go well that didn’t.
Tech glitches on a webinar, crickets in a Facebook group, clients who were non-compliant, smaller coaching groups than I would have liked.
I remember every time I trained for a race, I set a goal of what I wanted my finish time to be. And if I didn’t hit that time I was so disappointed in myself. But the truth is, a lot of what happens at a race if beyond your control. The weather may not be ideal, like the Boston Marathon was this year. The course conditions may not have been ideal like all of the potholes that used to line the Great Highway on the course route for the Kaiser Half Marathon. You may have worn clothing that chaffed or had problems with your shoes. You may have dropped your GU packet and not been able to fuel.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that anything can happen in and you can’t control outcomes so don’t tie yourself to expectations. Be ready to pivot as needed but most importantly, learn from the outcomes.
It sounds cliche to say that the only failure is in never trying, but that is absolutely true.
So set goals for yourself, but manage your expectations by understanding that you can’t control the outcome and be okay with it.
#6 - Don’t tie your worth to the outcome
Along those same lines, don’t tie your worth to outcomes.
I remember the first time I ran a group program, I had about ten people sign up for it - which exceeded my expectations. I was so happy, floating on cloud 9!
So logically, I expected that the next time I ran the program, I’d have more than ten people sign up for it - but I didn’t. I had two people in it and I was so disappointed.
I thought I was a failure and a terrible coach. My self-esteem took a big hit and I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. And it took a lot for me to muster up the courage to run another program.
I’ve since come to learn that that outcome really had nothing to do with my abilities as a coach or even as a person. Rather it had everything to do with my skills as a marketer.
On the flip side, if you’re a program participant, in say something like the 21-Day Sugar Detox.
You may see other program participants lose 5, 10 or even 15 pounds yet you didn’t lose anything. That does not mean that you’re a failure, or that you did anything wrong, or that you’re not good enough or not worthy.
You’ve actually just did something really, really good for you body and that should be celebrated!
And whatever the results were, there’s a lot of learn from it that can help you decide what’s your next steps can be. If you did a program like the 21-Day Sugar Detox or maybe even Whole 30 and your goal was to lose weight and that didn’t happen. All that’s telling you is that there may be something else going on that requires further investigation.
But you wouldn’t have known that had you not done this step first.
The outcome has nothing to do with your value or worth as a human being.
#7 - Don’t care what others think
I used to take great pride in telling myself that I don’t care what others think of me. And in most cases, I really don’t. And I don’t mean this in a snotty way, I just don’t waste a lot of time worrying about what others think of me, especially those whose opinions don’t really matter to me one way or another.
However, when I started my business as a health coach and had to learn how to network and put myself out there, I realized that I do care, far more than I knew about what certain people thought of me.
And it held me back from doing things that I wanted to do but didn’t because I worried about what those certain people would think of it.
But the truth is, those people either didn’t care, didn’t notice, or, gasp, were really supportive of what I was doing.
There were a few who were unsupportive but they eventually faded away and didn’t remain a big part of my life. And I found that I was okay with that. Because if they really did care about me, they would have been supportive no matter what. They were not my people.
But how silly was it that I let that hold me back from doing what I wanted to know and what I needed to do.
There are always going to be unsupportive people in whatever we try to do. I recently spoke with someone who had a lot of health issues - autoimmune disease, blood sugar imbalances, poor sleep and she knew what she needed to do to feel better and she desperately wanted to do it but she was afraid that her family wasn’t going to be supportive.
If you find yourself in the a similar situation, whether in your business or in your health, don’t let what others think, or how you perceive how others think define you, or stop you from going where you want and need to go.
Sometimes, when someone is critical of another person, or something that someone says or does, it’s usually a projection of something they may not be happy with about themselves.
Don’t let them, or their projections, get in the way of what you want for yourself and going after it!
#8 - Stand for something
This is probably the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn - to stand for something. And by stand for something I mean, have a voice. What is your message? What is your “why?” What is it that you want to world to know?
This was really hard for me to do not because I didn’t know, but because I had to narrow it in o a concise and succinct message that’s:
“I teach health-conscious women who are struggling with digestive issues, fatigue, unexplained weight gain and even skin issues, how to stop chasing symptoms, find sustainable solutions and learn where health + healing truly begins. I teach them how to uncover what’s causing their complaints, then work towards root cause resolution so they can bring their body back into balance and feel comfortable in their own skin again.”
But I’m not going to please everyone because in an era of quick fixes and fad diets there’s A LOT conflicting health information. And not everyone is going to agree with my philosophy, my approach, my message, and that’s okay because I am not for everyone.
I don’t want to work with everyone. I want to work with those who are open-minded to trying new things, who are seeking empowerment, who want to be a leader in their own healthcare.
Those are my people and those who I’m here to serve.
Likewise, you may have a lot of people who disagree with whatever changes you may be making in your life. Remember what I said in #7 - don’t let them get in the way of what you want for yourself. Stand for what you want. Stand for something - and that something may very well be you. You’re the most important thing you can stand for.
These last two lessons are perhaps the most important lessons that I’ve learned.
#9 - Time is your most valuable commodity
About a year and a half ago, I came to realize that I have a scarcity mindset. And I’m not going to get too much into this because it’s the topic for the next episode.
But coming from a scarcity mindset meant that I was always afraid I was going to run out of something, especially money.
There were certain things I was very frugal about and certain things that I wasn’t. And the things that I was frugal about were the things that I shouldn’t have been, because they took a lot of time.
And what I’ve come to realize is that time is the most valuable commodity that we have. And the reason that I say this is because time is the one thing we can never get back. We can always make more money.
I realize this is going to sound harsh to some people because the first time I heard this, it sounded harsh to me. Please understand that I’m not trying to sound frivolous when it comes to money. Absolutely not. I value the dollar.
But when it comes to time versus money, we have the capacity to earn more money. We don’t have the capacity for more time. We only get 24 hours in a day. There is no more. We only get seven days a week, four weeks in a month (give or take a few days), 12 months a year. We cannot get more of this.
So when it comes to time, I’ve learned to be laser-focused and ruthless in how I spend my time and who I spend it with.
For example, a few episodes into this podcast, I had a lot of requests to provide a transcript. I understood the value of providing this and happily did so.
I used to use a very, very affordable service, but it wasn’t very good. In fact, it’s accuracy was laughable. But it was cheap, so I kept using it but it would take me hours to go through and correct it’s inaccuracies.
I finally realized that it was keeping me from spending time on much more fruitful activities so I decided to use a more expensive, but 99.9% more accurate transcription service - and guess what - it is soooooo worth it. Now I just have to do a quick skim, because this more accurate service actually marks the areas that they weren’t sure about, and I can do a quick correction. Takes me 5-10 minutes max. It’s nine times more expensive than the cheap service and for me, its worth it.
I know that a lack of time is one of biggest hurdles many people have when it comes to taking care of their health.
- It takes time to grocery shop.
- It takes time to make a healthy, home-cooked meal.
- It takes time to keep a food journal.
- It takes time to get 8 hours of sleep.
- It takes time to pack a lunch.
- It takes time to meditate.
- It takes time to exercise.
We all have the same number of hours in a day, the same number of days in a week. How are you spending your time? Are there things that are taking up your time that you can outsource so that you can spend time on the things that you’ll get more bang for your buck?
How will investing in time in the right things impact your stress level? Your aggravation level? Will it make you a more pleasant person to be around? A better parent? Spouse? Friend?
There is nothing that aggravates me more than when someone wastes my time. Poor customer service. Having to repeat myself or repeat something due to someone else’s lack of attention, negligence and incompetence.
When I spent a month in the Pacific Northwest, I joined a local gym. And when I joined I explained that I was only visiting for five weeks and would either be cancelling or downgrading my membership when I left. And I was told this was fine - no problem at all.
So after I got back, I saw that I couldn’t do this on the gym’s website so I called them. And they told me that I had to sign paperwork in person to make a change to my membership. No one had told me this when I explained my situation. Had they told me this, I could have easily taken cared of it before I left. Instead, I had to write a letter, then had to spend the time to print it out (I don’t have an easy way to print things on my printer at home), and then I had to find stamps (because who carries stamps these days) and then I had to drop the letter off in a mailbox.
I was so aggravated that I had to take time out of my busy day to do this when it could have easily been taken cared of in a quick stop at the gym before I left.
Our time is our most valuable commodity. We can never get it back so spend it wisely.
- #10 - Self-awareness is key
Number ten is my life is to have massive self-awareness and if you’re familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk, you’ll know that he speaks about this a lot in entrepreneurship. Every lesson that I’ve shared - one through nine - requires self-awareness.
Because what no one tells you when you start a business is that it will be your greatest lesson in personal development.
From not having to have it all figured out and being okay with it, to being willing to go outside your comfort zone, to not tying yourself to expectations or your worth to outcomes, to not caring what others think, to taking a stand for something - all of these things will be lessons in personal development.
You will be forced to examine everything about yourself - and those places of your soul that you just don’t want to deal with.
It’s funny, I remember years ago, talking with a running friend about listening to music on a long run and she said, “I just don’t need to spend that time in my mind…”
But really, you do and when you start a new business you will.
Just like when it comes to peeling back the layers to uncover what may be the root cause of what’s ailing you. It requires massive amounts of self-awareness so that you can be in tune with your body and notice the subtle and not-so-subtle signs that your body is sending you so you can connect the dots to figure out just what’s going on in there.
And that’s what my Finally Feel Better aims to teach you - how to pay attention and develop some self-awareness as the first step in to finally feeling better.
When you have self-awareness you begin to understand and notice things, how you react to certain things, if you’re projecting your own insecurities onto someone else, how people to respond to your words and actions, what foods trigger your symptoms, if you’re actually eating how you think you’re eating, and so much more.
So to recap:
- Pay attention
- You don’t need to have it all figured out
- There’s different kinds of business models and approaches
- Be willing to go to uncomfortable places
- Don’t tie yourself to expectations
- Don’t tie your self-worth to outcomes
- Don’t mind too much what others think
- Stand for something
- Time is your most valuable commodity
- Self-awareness is everything
I can’t even begin to share how much I’ve learned and grown over the past two years. It’s been a rollercoaster of the highest highs and the lowest lows and everything in between, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I love what I do, I love what I’m learning, I love the people I’m connecting with and the clients I’m privileged enough to work with and above all, I’m grateful for the ways I’m growing.
If you’re someone who’s also trying your hand an entrepreneurship and growing your business and want to connect, I love making business bff’s so please reach out and let’s connect.
If you’re ready to take the first step in taking a functional nutrition approach to your health, sign up for my Finally Feel Better Challenge at www.finallyfeelbetterchallenge.com or go to the show notes for this episode at www.livefablife.com/035.
That’s all that I have for you this week. I’ll be back next week with another behind-the-scenes episode for you. See you next time!
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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.